Today's Labour News

newsThis news aggregator site highlights South African labour news from a wide range of internet and print sources. Each posting has a synopsis of the source article, together with a link or reference to the original. Postings cover the range of labour related matters from industrial relations to generalist human resources.

news shutterstockIn our afternoon roundup, see summaries
of our selection of South African labour-
related stories that appeared thus far on
Thursday, 13 December 2018.


OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH & SAFETY

Inspection reveals that health department’s Civitas headquarters literally falling apart

Pretoria News reports that the ongoing investigation into the state of the Department of Health’s Civitas headquarters has found 29 non-compliant floors and a building that is literally falling apart.  According to Public Servants Association (PSA) chairperson Peter Moloi, this emerged after a three-day floor-by-floor survey by three government inspectors last week.  The inspection confirmed the horrendous working conditions workers had been complaining about for months, he said.  However, the outcome of the inspection has brought workers no closer to being removed from the building.  The inspectors visited the building following repeated protests by workers unhappy with the state of the building.  Moloi said the inspectors were dismayed by the numerous problems, but no one was willing to take action.  To make matters worse, Moloi said, owing to the weekend rains, employees arrived to find the boardroom and kitchen in tatters this week.  “This building is falling apart and no one is willing to take the well-being of workers into consideration.  Just a bit of rain over the weekend and workers find a boardroom and kitchen also in pieces.  It is sad for workers as the inspector is not willing to do the honourable thing and give us a letter stating whether it is safe for workers to occupy the remaining offices,” Moloi observed.

Read Goitsemang Tlhabye’s full report in this regard at Pretoria News


MINING LABOUR

Gold Fields to cautiously resume operations at South Deep after strike of nearly six weeks

Fin24 reports that Gold Fields is to cautiously resume operations at its South Deep mine on Thursday after the National Union of Mineworkers' (NUM) head office called off a strike of nearly six weeks against retrenchments.  Gold Fields spokesperson Sven Lunsche said the NUM’s head office had informed them the strike was over, although he added that he was aware of intimidation tactics being used against employees wanting to return to work.  He indicated that the lengthy strike had caused “enormous underground damage” and the first few shifts would see only essential services going underground.  The union’s deputy president Phillip Vilakazi said they had also received reports of intimidation and threats being made against members reporting for duty.  He encouraged members to return to work saying the NUM only undertook “targeted strikes” and the protracted industrial action was harming members under the no-work, no pay principle.  The union’s national and regional offices have been at loggerheads with the South Deep branch over the protracted strike and last week suspended 13 branch officials. This followed Gauteng’s regional chairperson Ndlela Radebe being stabbed earlier in December while addressing a mass meeting of members who wanted to return to work.  He had previously issued a directive ordering the branch to end the industrial action.  Lunsche said the company was still in talks with the NUM and a slightly different offer to an earlier retrenchment package "sweetener" had been placed on the table.

Read Tehillah Niselow’s full report in this regard at Fin24. Read too, NUM calls off the strike at Gold Fields South Deep mine, at Miningmx. And also, NUM strikers expected back at South Deep, at Business Report

Sibanye extends union wage agreement to all employees, rendering Amcu strike unprotected

Mining Weekly reports that Sibanye-Stillwater has extended the wage agreement entered into with three unions to all employees, effectively rendering the three-week-long strike by Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) members unprotected.  During the course of the strike, which was called by Amcu on 21 November, the collective membership of the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), Solidarity and Uasa has increased to over 50% of the employees at the producer’s SA gold operations.  Under such circumstances, the Labour Relations Act provides for the wage agreement to be extended to and to bind all other employees to the collective agreement.  In this instance, all employees who are members of Amcu, as well as those who are not members of any trade union, are bound by the collective agreement with the three unions.  As a result of the extension of the wage agreement, all employees were required to report for work on 15 December, Sibanye said in a statement issued on Thursday.

Read the full original report in this regard at Mining Weekly. Read the company’s press statement at Moneyweb

Amcu accuses Sibanye-Stillwater of using 'underhand tactics' to end gold wage strike

ANA reports that the Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) has retaliated against Sibanye-Stillwater, saying that the miner had resorted to further "underhanded tactics" in an effort to discredit the legal and protected status of the union’s strike at the producer’s gold operations.  This was after Sibanye said on Thursday the strike by Amcu members was no longer protected as employees were henceforth bound by the collective agreement signed with three other unions.  Amcu president Joseph Mathunjwa said Sibanye's efforts and its management was "unscrupulous" in extending the wage agreement they had "covertly signed" with other unions.  Mathunjwa stated:  "Amcu has been reliably informed that Sibanye senior management has undergone the process of recruiting members for rival unions - NUM, Solidarity and Uasa.  Amcu also understands that HR managers at Sibanye have approached and enticed employees who currently do not belong to any union during working hours."  Mathunjwa said Amcu would pursue all legal avenues to protect the constitutional right of its members to go on strike.  An angry Mathunjwa has called a media briefing for Friday to provide further insight on the matter.  About 15,000 Amcu members went on strike three weeks ago after the union reached deadlock with Sibanye.

Read the full report in this regard at Mining Weekly

Other labour / community posting(s) relating to mining

  • Mineworkers fund takes 13 years to pay family of a worker, at SowetanLive
  • Xolobeni judgment to be appealed by DMR, at Mining Weekly

Postings on mining charter / transformation

  • Enable meaningful participation, pleads Women in Mining chair, at Mining Weekly


INDUSTRIAL ACTION / STRIKES

Pietermaritzburg mortuary workers return to work after arrests and strong warning by labour court

GroundUp reports that seventeen employees of the Fort Napier Medico Legal Mortuary in Pietermaritzburg, who were arrested on Monday, were released with a strong warning on Tuesday.  They were arrested after the Department of Health (DOH) issued an ultimatum to workers to return to work or face arrest.  DOH spokesperson Ncumisa Mafunda said that on Tuesday, 16 forensic pathology staff members from Gale Street Medico Legal Mortuary in Durban had also been arrested.  They were apparently released the same day.  The Fort Napier workers had been on a go-slow since November, demanding a wage increase, back pay and better working conditions.  Ndunakazi indicated that all the workers from Fort Napier had returned to work.  The case against them was adjourned to 8 February 2019, on condition that they returned to work and began to function optimally.  The DOH again apologised to the public “for delays that have been experienced regarding to the completion of autopsies, due to the ongoing go-slow by staff at five of its medical legal mortuaries.”  Nehawu’s Phakama Ndunakazi said:  “Currently, we are conducting meetings with the workers about the way forward on the matter.  This is not over.  We are declaring a big war with the Department of Health.  We will continue supporting the workers until their issues are resolved and attended to.”

Read Nompendulo Ngubane’s full report in this regard at GroundUp

Comair says Numsa can’t strike at BA, Kulula before CCMA hears dispute in January

ANA reports that Comair Limited said on Wednesday a strike planned by ground staff affiliated to the National Union of Metalworkers of SA (Numsa) could not go ahead legally as the CCMA was unable to hear the dispute between the parties until January 2019.  This was after Numsa announced that workers were preparing to go on strike at international airline Comair from Thursday next week over a 12% wage demand and other improvements to conditions of employment.  Comair operates and manages British Airways (BA) and kulula.com in SA.  The company employs around 750 people as airport staff.  Wrenelle Stander of Comair's airline division said the company believed the mutual interest dispute was resolvable and approached the CCMA (Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration) to assist in reaching a resolution between the parties.  The CCMA confirmed on Wednesday evening that it could not hear the parties until January 2019, adding that Numsa did not have a certificate to strike at this time.  "Numsa may only embark on a legal strike once the CCMA has mediated and the parties have still failed to reach a resolution.  We are relieved that our customers' travel plans are unlikely to be disrupted over the festive season.  We will continue to engage the union to resolve both issues," Stander said.

Read the report by Siphelele Dludla in this regard in full at Business Report. Read too, Comair says Numsa strike ‘unlikely’, TimesLive


LABOUR MARKET / JOB CREATION

Job creation potential of legal dagga not clear, cautions Cosatu

The Citizen reports that trade union federation Cosatu has cast doubt over the optimism about the job creation potential of legal cannabis.  Following the Constitutional Court judgment allowing for the private use of dagga, several organisations have put forward policy plans and ideas promoting the potential of a legal cannabis industry to create jobs and economic growth.  The Cannabis Expo launched in Menlyn in Pretoria on Thursday.  But Cosatu spokesperson Sizwe Pamla warned that SA’s socioeconomic dynamics and current substance abuse crisis made it more vulnerable to the potential downsides of legal marijuana than the benefits seen in developed countries.  As to the potential of the sector, he said there still needed to be a study looking into that.  Agricultural economist Wandile Sihlobo recently wrote that examples in Canada pointed to the overall potential of cannabis-related job creation in SA.  However, he qualified that view by saying that any potential unintended consequences of the legalisation of the drug would have to carefully researched and considered when legislation was developed to circumscribe the conditions of commercial production.  A research paper by agricultural economist Heinrich Gerwel has earmarked the former Transkei area in the Eastern Cape as having the right terrain and climate for cannabis production.

Read Simnikiwe Hlatshaneni’s full report in this regard at The Citizen. Read too, Is it time for South Africa to create dope jobs? here


RECRUITMENT / APPOINTMENTS / STAFFING

Government reviews its entry-level recruitment rules to accommodate applicants without experience

SowetanLive reports that the government is reviewing its recruitment regulations for entry-level posts in the public service to allow for the hiring of new employees without prior experience.  Public service and administration minister Ayanda Dlodlo announced the steps taken, with the aim of addressing the country's high youth unemployment problem, at a briefing on Wednesday.  More than 30% of SA's youth are unemployed, with many, including new graduates, unable to access the job market due to a lack of experience.  The minister also launched an e-recruitment system in line with plans she had to digitise the public service when she took over the portfolio.  The minister explained:  "For job seekers, the new e-recruitment system will be beneficial because it is web-based and accessible from different locations for all job-seekers who submit applications to a centralised database."  The e-recruitment system will be phased in at the departments of labour, higher education and training, public service and administration, the national school of government, the centre for public service innovation, and the office of the public service commission.

Read Theto Mahlakoana’s full report in this regard at SowetanLive


SOEs IN CRISIS

SAA pilots’ association comes up with a plan to save national airline R313m over three years

Business Report writes that the South African Airways Pilots’ Association (Saapa) has reiterated its commitment to the national airline and its support of chief executive Vuyani Jarana’s efforts to turn the state-owned airline around.  In a statement on Wednesday, Saapa chairperson Grant Back said:  “We believe that SAA can be saved and can be an African leader once again.  This can be achieved through calm, rational engagement and the unimpeded implementation of the strategy to return SAA to success.”  Back said Jarana had made some important and crucial interventions since his arrival in November 2017 and that he had also begun to address the issues at SAA Technical and in Operation.  He indicated that Saapa has made several proposals to SAA management to contribute to lowering SAA’s operating costs.  “By implementing these measures, we will realise cumulative savings over three years that will amount to R313 million by the end of the 2019/2020 financial year.  This has been achieved through a voluntary reduction in pilot headcount and salary increases that were not only below the industry norm, but also less than the rest of SAA staff.  We are continuing to engage with management to realise further savings,” said Back.

Read the full report in this regard at Business Report. Read too, Pilot association comes to SAA CEO's defence, at Fin24

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • High drama at SAA as Gordhan steps in to keep CEO on board, at BusinessLive


NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE

Pertinent questions about the National Minimum Wage answered

In a useful report, GroundUp presents a number of pertinent questions and the answers thereto in respect of the National Mining Wage (NMW).  The questions dealt with are the following:  1. What is the national minimum wage in terms of the Act?  2. To whom does the Act apply?  3. What is included in the wage?  4. Can an employer and employee agree to a lesser wage?  5. Can any employer be exempted from paying the minimum wage?  6. What happens to an employer who pays below the minimum wage?  7. How will the minimum wage be determined in future?  8. What else should workers know?  9. When does the new minimum wage come into effect?

Read this report by Wilmien Wicomb in full at GroundUp


DISMISSALS / SUSPENSIONS

Moyane’s legal bills pile up as he forges ahead with 'unnecessary' court battles to get Sars job back

News24 reports that axed SA Revenue Services (SARS) commissioner Tom Moyane faces a growing legal bill as he heads to the Constitutional Court (ConCourt) again.  His time he intends to appeal a scathing North Gauteng High Court ruling, which upheld his dismissal.  On Tuesday, Judge Hans Fabricius, in dismissing Moyane's bid to have his dismissal overturned, ruled that he would also have to foot the bill of two counsel on "the punitive scale of attorney and client" as the litigation was "vexatious and abusive".  A punitive costs order allows the other parties in the case to set their legal fees higher than allowed in terms of the court tariffs.  President Cyril Ramaphosa fired Moyane on 1 November, after receiving the Nugent Commission of Inquiry's interim report, which recommended that he be sacked.  The inquiry was set up to look into administrative governance at SARS.  Natasha Moni, a director at Moni Inc and labour law expert, described Moyane's high court and ConCourt actions as unnecessary.  She pointed out that he could have approached the CCMA to challenge his dismissal, where proceedings were far cheaper.

Read Tehilla Niselow’s full report in this regard at Fin24


CORRUPTION / WORKPLACE CRIME

Nehawu calls for ANC to ban all VBS-linked looters across all provinces

The Star reports that the National Education, Health and Allied Workers' Union (Nehawu) has called on the ANC to expand the removal of those implicated in the VBS Mutual Bank looting scandal to all provinces, and to ban them from the party’s political activities.  This week, the Cosatu affiliate held its last annual central executive committee meeting, in which it concluded its work for the year and crafted a programme for next year.  The public sector union called for “full and immediate implementation” of the ANC integrity commission’s recommendation that all party members implicated in the VBS corruption saga be removed from all responsibilities in the public service and the party.  This came as seven mayors were fired in Limpopo for investing more than R2.6-billion with the now liquidated VBS Mutual Bank, more than R1bn of which has yet to be recovered.  The ANC’s Danny Msiza, who was dubbed by the SA Reserve Bank’s report on the matter as the kingpin behind the kickbacks given by VBS Bank officials to those who facilitated the depositing of municipal funds into the bank, announced his resignation on Tuesday.  Nehawu general secretary Zola Saphetha said the ANC’s campaign for next year’s general elections would be tainted if it did not ban all those implicated from the party’s activities.

Read more of this report by Siviwe Feketha at SA Labour News


WORKPLACE SEXUAL HARASSMENT

ANC spokesman Pule Mabe and his sexual harassment accuser face off at hearing

SowetanLive reports that the internal enquiry of ANC spokesperson Pule Mabe and his former personal assistant (PA) got under way on Wednesday, with the victim’s boyfriend by her side to give her support.  The regional chairperson of the ANC Youth League’s greater Alexandra branch, Thabang Ledige, was also present and commented:  “We are here to show support to one of our own who has been sexually harassed by a senior leader of the ANC, Pule Mabe, and to also speak against the issues of sexual harassment in the workplace.”  The 26-year-old female PA has accused Mabe of sexual harassment, cutting her salary and emotionally abusing her when she rebuffed his sexual advances on at least two occasions.  The victim wrote a 14-page letter to the ANC’s deputy secretary-general Jessie Duarte describing her period in Mabe’s office as “the most difficult four months”.  Mabe has since taken special leave.  The inquiry was still under way late on Wednesday afternoon.

Read Neo Goba’s full report in this regard at SowetanLive

Other internet posting(s) in this news category

  • Sexual harassment matter a learning curve, says Equal Education, at EWN


OTHER NEWS HEADLINES

  • SA expats stop Solidarity envoy’s genocide talk in Utrecht, at The Citizen
  • Western Cape farmer to appear in court for allegedly assaulting farmworker, at EWN
  • A Re Yeng not going anywhere near Mamelodi, on page 6 of Sowetan of 13 December 2018

 


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